How to Replace Asphalt Roof Shingles

What You'll Need
Galvanized roofing nails
Roofing cement
Pry Bar
Putty knife
Caulk gun
Tool belt or box

Replacing asphalt roof shingles yourself can save you quite a bit of money. Making sure your roof is in good condition is one of the most important things you can do for the value of your home. Your roof keeps out the elements, helps to insulate your home and can add character to the outside of your house.

Step 1 - Loosen Damaged Shingles

First you need to determine which asphalt roof shingles are damaged. If you are replacing all the shingles, you will follow the same instructions, just on a larger scale. Once you have found the asphalt roof shingles you want to replace, you will need to loosen the first set of good shingles above these. Use your putty knife or pry bar to pry apart the good and damaged shingles.

Step 2 - Remove Damaged Shingles

Next you need to gently remove the damaged asphalt roof shingles by rocking them back and forth. You will continue this process until all the damaged shingles have been removed.

Step 3 - Remove Nails

Remove any nails from the exterior of the roof. First you will lift the edge of the good shingle and remove the nails. One way to make sure that you don't damage any adjacent shingles is by placing a small piece of wood underneath the pry bar. Continue until you have removed all the existing nails.

Step 4 - Pound In Nails You Can't Remove

You may encounter nails that you are unable to remove because they are too bent or because the head of the nail has broken off. When you come across nails like these, use a hammer to pound in the nail so that it is flush with the roof. Make sure that all nails are either removed or flush with the roof.

Step 5 - Prep the Area

Between the wood of the roof and the shingle is a layer of felt. Using roof cement, a caulk gun and your putty knife, you will cover the nails that were hammered flush and also place a layer of the cement over any rips in the felt. Make sure to use only a thin layer of cement and have rags available to clean up any mess that is left behind from the cement.

Step 6 - Install New Asphalt Roof Shingles

Starting with the lowest shingle that needs replaced, line up the shingle with the existing shingles above and use galvanized roofing nails to attach the shingles. Most asphalt roof shingles require four nails, but make sure to follow the directions of the manufacturer. Nails should be placed 3/4 inch above the tabs in the shingles. Continue until you reach the final set of asphalt roof shingles. 

Step 7 - Finish the Installation

Finally pry up the edge of the shingle directly above the final one being place. Slide the last shingle into place and nail it down as you have the others. Place a small amount of cement where the two shingles meet. Each shingle already has a strip of cement that will become sticky as the shingles warm up, and this will provide a good seal against inclement weather.

Replacing asphalt roof shingles is quite physical, and you may find your back and knees sore at the end of the day. Make sure to take breaks so that you can stretch, stay hydrated and keep your supplies full.